Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 52 2009

10:31:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , , , No comments
This article presents a set of grounded hypotheses on the interplay between communication and power relationships in the technological context that characterizes the network society. Based on a selected body of communication literature, and of a number of case studies and examples, it argues that the media have become the social space where power is decided. It shows the direct link between politics, media politics, the politics of scandal, and the crisis of political legitimacy in a global perspective. It also puts forward the notion that the development of interactive, horizontal networks of communication has induced the rise of a new form of communication, mass self-communication, over the Internet and wireless communication networks. Under these conditions, insurgent politics and social movements are able to intervene more decisively in the new communication space. However, corporate media and mainstream politics have also invested in this new communication space. As a result of these processes, mass media and horizontal communication networks are converging. The net outcome of this evolution is a historical shift of the public sphere from the institutional realm to the new communication space.
"Tools Can Be Strategic" by Amber Naslund:
No, it’s not all about the tools...But it’s important to point out, as a bookend, that tools can be strategic, or at least part of developing sound strategy.

Blogging can be a strategy that helps you reach a larger goal of awareness or reach or idea testing or personal exploration or whatever. Twitter can be a viable part of a distribution network strategy or engaging the community you have in other places. You can vet its adoption or value for your audience, test ideas, track its usefulness as a traffic driver for your website.

What’s important is that the company take the approach of testing and seeking tangible experiences that might relate to larger goals. That help provide some experience, some evidence, some immersion. A starting point.

Having a strategy isn’t about having all the answers. It’s about mapping a process to try and find them, and constantly checking progress and adjusting along the way. Sometimes, tinkering with a tool or two can be just the way to do that.
Many organisations are waking up to the fact that collaboration is a key piece of the intranet puzzle. I have spoken to many such people in charge of collaboration in their organisations and what puzzles me in turn is their lack of understanding of the culture of collaboration.

This basically means that the organisation has a preferred way of working, and this acts like a magnet, and this pulls all other parts towards it. For example, a bureaucratic organisation will attract bureaucratic technology and an open-thinking organisation will attract open-thinking technology.

Here comes the problem. Collaboration requires a different way of working. It requires attitudes, values, goals, and practices that are based on interdependent work. Not silo-based work, not workflow-based work but all-together-in-one-melting-pot-based work.

If the culture of the organisation is hospitable to the culture of collaboration then you're going to have a fun time and you'll be wondering what the fuss is all about. If the culture is pointing the other way around, well, you better start praying.

OK. Stop praying. All is not lost; there is still hope. There could be subcultures in the organisation that are more collaboration-oriented than others. Seek these out and embrace them. Ask them to show the light.

If no such subcultures exist (you poor thing) then you'll have to start at the very beginning: by acknowledging that a collaboration-problem exists and being aware of the type of situation you're in.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 51 2009

"Unstructured Collaboration is Key to Increased Innovation and Business Agility in 2010" by Drew Gude, Director, U.S. High Tech and Electronics Manufacturing Industry Solutions, Microsoft:
Most high-tech companies have made significant investments in tier 1 business applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM) and customer relationship management (CRM). While these systems provide access to structured, transactional information, they do not facilitate the unstructured, ad-hoc collaboration activities where people interact with people and where business decisions are made.

The biggest challenge in 2010 and beyond, therefore, will be to integrate PLM, ERP, supply chain management and other structured, transactional frameworks with tools and processes that facilitate unstructured collaboration. By embedding unstructured collaboration tools such as unified communications, live meetings and online chat within these structured, transactional systems, manufacturers will be able to increase business agility through an array of benefits ranging from improved innovation to more rapid decision making and faster time-to-market.

One of the key tools for unstructured collaboration is social computing...In 2010, we will see the adoption of social collaboration tools increase significantly, as more manufacturers will look to integrate social computing tools and platforms like SharePoint into their business processes, linking internal communities and external communities. These unstructured collaboration tools can help high-tech businesses gain visibility into customer needs and wants; improve customer support and satisfaction; and facilitate knowledge-sharing throughout the enterprise
People like to use email because they feel they can reach exactly the person they have in mind and I think they like the "attachment" functionality that gives them the peace of mind of knowing they've handed off their document to exactly the person who should have it. But email's effectiveness breaks down quickly, in my experience, when you don't know precisely who you should be talking to.

To me, the necessity and opportunity of social computing as a corporate communication tool is revealed by the strong showing of face-to-face. People want to have productive back-and-forth exchanges with precisely the right people who can help them and a face-to-face conversation does that. But what about when you are not in the same physical location and yet you need to collaboratively exchange expertise with someone else, or a group? That's when social computing tools can fit the bill because they are web-based approximations of the face-to-face dynamic.
On Friday, I expressed doubt whether Twitter will ever enjoy mainstream adoption like Facebook...the more closed Facebook has continued to thrive because it marries microblogging (or status messages, which are longer and have threaded comments) with other social sharing features in one constant stream without the need for redirection.

For this reason, I believe microblogging, integrated with other social software, will be more useful for the general populace as a technology at work than it ever will in their consumer life. Here is why enterprise microblogging will affect more people, and their day-to-day, than Twitter:

1) You Know the People
2) Communication Problem is More Real at Work
3) Privacy Provides Comfort to Share
4) Value Becomes Evident Faster
Globalization will eventually show that it too was driven by technology change but the ramifications are far from being felt. Today, Americans are blaming big business and our government for causing this recession but underpinning this is the transformation where work is getting done faster and cheaper in other places around the world.

With this new global economy questions emerge to who should be in control, who should lead, who is responsible for ensuring our place and many other question emerge. For a country born on democracy, it's interesting to see so many looking to the government for that lead when in fact it's us that must lead this next transformation. Unfortunately, our life styles are killing our drive to succeed.

Monday, December 14, 2009

12+ Essential (& Free) Enterprise 2.0 Reports & Whitepapers from 2009

9:39:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg , 3 comments
Thinking about what to read during the holidays? Well, there is no need to spend any more time on that - here is your reading list ;-)

(Registration required)
Written by Carl Frappaolo and Dan Keldsen of Information Architected and edited by Susan Scrupski, Founder of The 2.0 Adoption Council.
"This paper and the research behind it are based on a web-based survey conducted during the latter part of October 2009. The survey was open exclusively to members of The 2.0 Adoption Council. Of the then 100 members, 77 completed the survey. As explained in more detail in the Demographics section, despite the relatively small number of responses, the research findings represent a market milestone and represent not the opinion of the general masses, but the fact-based experiences of the market’s early adopters– the true practitioners of Enterprise 2.0.

This study focused on the current realities pertaining to the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 and associated budgets, challenges, business drivers, teams and leadership. The survey consisted of over 20 questions. This white paper provides a high-level view into a select sub-group of questions/issues."
(PDF, no registration required)
Written by Gary Matuszak, Global Chair, Information, Communications & Entertainment, KPMG
"In a survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by KPMG International, corporate executives across a range of industries agreed that adapting consumer-based Web 2.0 tools for commercial use has the potential to transform businesses. This “Enterprise 2.0” adaptation could offer benefits in several important areas: Fostering collaboration, Innovation, Enhanced productivity."
(no registration required)
McKinsey Quarterly
"Over the past three years, we have tracked the rising adoption of Web 2.0 technologies, as well as the ways organizations are using them. This year, we sought to get a clear idea of whether companies are deriving measurable business benefits from their investments in the Web. Our findings indicate that they are.

Nearly 1,700 executives from around the world, across a range of industries and functional areas, responded to this year’s survey.1 We asked them about the value they have realized from their Web 2.0 deployments in three main areas: within their organizations; externally, in their relations with customers; and in their dealings with suppliers, partners, and outside experts."
(Registration required)
Written by Mike Gotta
"Burton Group initiated an in-depth field research study to help clients understand the business, organizational, and technical factors to consider when formulating social networking strategies and initiating internal projects"
(PDF, no registration required)
Written by Pablo Bermejo García
"The main objective of this investigation is to (1) analyze the business values, benefits, and risks of adopting an Enterprise Web 2.0 solution for knowledge management, giving a list of recommendations in terms of security, governance, legal regulations, and best practices, and (2) design a solution for how this Enterprise Web 2.0 strategy can be embraced by CSC, including a specific road map for deployment."
(Registration required)
Written by Doug Miles, head of the AIIM Market Intelligence Division, AIIM
"Business take up of Enterprise 2.0 has doubled in the last year. According to this AIIM report, there has been a dramatic increase in the understanding of how Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, blogs, forums, and social networks can be used to improve business collaboration and knowledge sharing, with over half of organizations now considering Enterprise 2.0 to be "important" or "very important" to their business goals and success. Only 17% admitted that they have no idea what it is, compared to 40% at the start of 2008. However, only 25% of organizations are actually doing anything about it - but that is up from 12% in the previous survey."
(PDF, no registration required)
Written by Thomas W. Malone, Robert Laubacher, and Chrysanthos Dellarocas
MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
"Google. Wikipedia. Threadless. All are well-known examples of large, loosely organized groups of people working together electronically in surprisingly effective ways. These new modes of organizing work have been described with a variety of terms—radical decentralization, crowd-sourcing, wisdom of crowds, peer production, and wikinomics.1 The phrase we find most useful is collective intelligence, defined very broadly as groups of individuals doing things collectively that seem intelligent.

To unlock the potential of collective intelligence, managers instead need a deeper understanding of how these systems work...In this article we offer a new framework to help provide that understanding. It identifies the underlying building blocks—to use a biological metaphor, the “genes”—that are at the heart of collective intelligence systems, the conditions under which each gene is useful, and the possibilities for combining and re-combining these genes to harness crowds effectively."
(PDF, no registration required)
Whitepaper by Cisco
"Collaboration has captured the attention of organizations seeking a competitive edge in a challenging economy. Executives and managers want to know who stands to gain the most from collaboration, and the real benefits. Cisco conducted one of the first comprehensive studies of the factors associated with successful adoption of networkbased collaboration."
(Registration required)
Written by Mike Gotta, Burton Group
"Enterprise strategists have long been aware that the “informal organization” has tremendous influence on business success or failure. A vibrant culture with a strong sense of community and cross-functional network of employee relationships can significantly augment traditional management methods and processes structures. Hierarchy and formal controls can inadvertently result in compliance policies, decision-making roles, and work handing rules that constrain the ability of people to effectively communicate, share information, and collaborate. In many cases, these “gating mechanisms” are necessary business constructs that serve valid purposes (e.g., security), but they have unintended consequences: Communication may not be timely, relevant knowledge might not be shared, and collaboration may not occur across departmental boundaries. Breakdowns in information sharing and collaboration and a poor sense of community within an enterprise can impact a worker’s willingness to share insight and pass along experiences. Catalyzing the informal organization is becoming a more complex challenge for business and information technology (IT) strategists as shifting employee demographics crystallize concerns regarding aging workforce trends and expectations of younger employees (e.g., new work models)."
(PDF, no registration required)
Written by Daniel Kraft, Senior Vice President, Open Text
"Business has two main objectives: generate revenues and keep costs and risks low. All organizations must learn to strike the erfect balance between meeting the expectations of Web site visitors and those of internal teams. Customers look for information to make informed choices. Internal teams have lead generation goals and must control public information.

There is a balance between fun and engagement vs. risk and cost, and achieving this balance means offering incentives to visit corporate Web sites yet with management tools to moderate and protect data under information governance policies. Is this balance Candy vs. Aspirin?"
Written by Whitney Michael, Director of Marketing, Enterprise 2.0 Conference
"Business is shifting from top down, hierarchical ways of working and managing information to distributed, agile, collaborative work environments: Enterprise 2.0. In 2009, Enterprise 2.0 is currently at the early (but accelerating) adoption stage, where enormous competitive advantage will come to those who embrace the new tools and business cultures. In today's economic climate, that can mean the difference between survival and failure for many companies. This paper, based in part on our Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Survey, will be an introduction to Enterprise 2.0 - what it is, and why it's one of the most crucial concepts to understand in business today. We will also show how you can begin to take advantage of Enterprise 2.0 in your organization immediately."
(PDF, no registration required)
Whitepaper by Laurie Buczek and Malcolm Harkins, Intel Corporation
"Intel IT has deployed an enterprise-wide social computing platform that combines professional networking tools with social media such as wikis and blogs, and integrates with existing enterprise software. Read how Intel IT transformed collaboration across Intel while addressing top business challenges such as helping employees to find relevant information and expertise more quickly, breaking down silos; attracting and retaining new employees; and capturing the tacit knowledge of mature employees."
[UPDATE: Additional readings below]

(Requires registration)
Whitepaper by NewsGator
This whitepaper will review how social computing solutions can deliver ROI and help improve three core areas of your business:

Reduce expenditures
Leverage current investments
Improve operating efficiency
(Requires registration)
By Forrester Research, free copy offered via MindTouch

Sunday, December 13, 2009

No man is an island - truer today than ever?

8:33:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg 1 comment

Illstration by Jessica Hagy.

A survey by NEHRA (The Northeast Human Resources Association) from earlier this year found that informal networks are linked to success of change initiatives:
93% of completely successful change initiatives were led by leaders with very strong or strong personal networks. Not one change initiatives described as less successful was led by leader(s) with strong or very strong personal networks.

On the other hand, the majority of less successful change initiatives (73%) were led by people described as having moderate or weak personal networks.
Knowledge work is truly collaborative, and personal networks are the ground on which knowledge workers stand.

Today, the nature of work is changing for knowledge workers as they find themselves working in more complex work environments due to mergers and acquisitions, frequent organizational changes and partnerships. Their work environments are also becoming more disconnected as a consequence of the globalization trend and the increase of work in virtual teams, outsourcing and telepresence. They are also having more and more interactions with more – and often unknown – people.

At the same time, knowledge workers typically rely very heavily on their network of relationships to find information and solve problems. Informal relationships among employees are often far more reflective of the way work happens in an organization than relationships established by position within the formal structure. However, these are often invisible or only partially understood by managers. This problem is growing with the delayering of organizations, virtual work and globalization.

Supporting and making the interaction in these networks visible is important to facilitate effective collaboration. There are today many direct enterprise equivalents to Facebook and LinkedIn that allow us to become aware of who is who, the status of their projects, what they’re working on, where they currently are, things they’ve found and shared, and so on. Knowing these things makes it much easier to build and use our personal networks.

To some, terms such as Enterprise 2.0 and social software might seem as overhyped buzzwords. But when they eventually take a deeper look at the drivers beind these, they will find that they all comes down something very basic, human and eternal:
“No man is an island, entire of itself: every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

John Donne, Devotions XVII

Friday, December 11, 2009

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 50 2009

10:23:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , , , No comments
It's a process, not an event.

Dating is a process. So is losing weight, being a public company and building a brand.

On the other hand, putting up a trade show booth is an event. So are going public and having surgery.

Events are easier to manage, pay for and get excited about. Processes build results for the long haul.

“Often described as the organizational grapevine, informal networks actually extend much deeper into the organization. They include not just social connections, but also the interactions used to solve problems, gain expertise, innovate, strategize, and share information. Every organization has informal networks, yet few know how to understand their dynamics and harness their abilities. This study, one of the first in the HR community, examined the impact of informal networks on change initiatives.” NEHRA, May 2009

Some results of the NEHRA study:
  • 93% of successful change initiatives were led by leaders with strong or very strong personal networks
  • 73% of less successful change initiatives were led by people described as having moderate or weak personal networks
In the case of informal networks, making the invisible visible will help in any enterprise initiative. Mapping networks can help to identify organizational silos, key links and knowledge hubs.

The organizational architecture and incentives affect the shape of informal networks in the organization, but also informal networks shape organizations (either in a positive or negative way) because they tend to be organized by similarity and common interests, crossing organizational boundaries (geographic, hierarchical, functional, divisional, even organizational, leveraging external contacts). Managers can influence formal and informal networks at all levels, but first they need to accept their existence and recognize its influential power. Formal and informal networks are closely interrelated and work in parallel, sometimes supporting the company objectives and strategy, but sometimes going exactly in the opposite direction.

We’re no longer limiting relationships to friends, family and associates. As our comfort and interaction increase in social networks, the relationships we forge within each reflect our interests and aspirations.

The curated micro networks we forge within each respective social network serves as a trusted community. Those who can participate or permeate these trust communities must first earn the prominence of what Chris Brogan and Julien Smith call Trust Agents – those individuals who are deserving of your time and attention as demonstrated through their actions and words.

It is these concentrated communities that ultimately form the premise for a much larger and more meaningful human network – a collection of trust networks that represent the market and exchanges for your focus, investment, participation and ultimately your actions.

With time, our contribution to the state of the social, attention, and trust economies is measured by reciprocity, recognition, value, and benefaction.

Trust is earned and its stature is representative of our collaboration and contribution over time. If the Social Web is an ocean, trust funnels into distinctive and distinguishable rivers.

"Next Generation Knowledge Management With Web 2.0" by Pablo Bermejo García (PDF Report):
A new collaboration culture has been conceived and must truly be embraced by the enterprise in order to improve current knowledge management (KM) systems. Traditional knowledge management is more about capturing knowledge through document repositories, sharing that knowledge with groupware tools, and making it accessible via corporate portals, which are fragile environments that can frustrate users. There is no time to lose; companies need to mitigate this demise of knowledge management by taking advantage of emerging Web 2.0 collaboration technologies, building a new strategy focused on social networks and the flow of knowledge between the people in them. Web 2.0 tools solve all this by means of sharing, pulling, subscribing to, and publishing knowledge, and—above all—by connecting knowledge workers, who are more willing to share their knowledge, collaborate, and innovate using tools they already know and like. These new enterprise strategies based on Web 2.0 technologies synthesize into what today is known as Enterprise Web 2.0.

The main objective of this investigation is to (1) analyze the business values, benefits, and risks of adopting an Enterprise Web 2.0 solution for knowledge management, giving a list of recommendations in terms of security, governance, legal regulations, and best practices, and (2) design a solution for how this Enterprise Web 2.0 strategy can be embraced by CSC, including a specific road map for deployment.

My Slidehare presentations from 2009

2:38:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
Time to sum up 2009 - here are the presentations that I've shared via Slideshare during this year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 49 2009

As I laid out in Intel's Enterprise Social Computing Strategy Revealed, Intel has been dabbling internally with web 2.0 since 2004. We made a concerted decision to take the momentum and learning from the grass root efforts, and drive a globally deployed framework for social computing inside Intel. It is no small task. Not only do we have to evaluate and deploy solutions, but we also have to address Governance, Security Concerns, provide quantifiable ROI, capture use cases, and tackle transition change management one person and one team at a time. Here are my reflections on 2009.

This CIO article highlights 3 enterprise microblogging case studies - two of the case studies are about large technology companies (still interesting, but not necessarily reflective of everyone's experience). However, the other example describes the experiences of St. Louis Public Radio in the US, which only employees around 33 staff.

For me this reflects my own personal rule of thumb that its not just the size of an organisation that makes enterprise social computing useful, but the structure of the organisation and how these different roles relate to each other.

"Beware Social Media Snake Oil" by Stephen Baker:
While the marketing consultants focus on buzz and engagement, their in-house colleagues are trying to use social media to change how companies operate. The goal of Enterprise 2.0, a descendant of the "knowledge management" movement in the '90s, is to reroute the information traveling through corporations, undermining rigid hierarchies.

Many argue that a fixation on hard numbers could lead companies to ignore the harder-to-quantify dividends of social media, such as trust and commitment. A Twittering employee, for example, might develop trust or goodwill among customers but have trouble putting a number on it. "There is this default assumption that return on investment is the correct measure for everything," says Susan Etlinger, senior vice-president at Horn Group, a San Francisco consultancy. "Everything needs to monetize within 12 weeks, so we can understand that we're successful. But frequently the thing they're measuring is misleading."

This can lead to confusion. The risk is that a backlash against the consultants' easy promises could reduce social media investments just as the industry takes off.

Systems and processes at companies are often not known to employees. Employees’ trust increases the more they understand how and why things are done. The philosophy behind a company’s management (compensation practices, performance management criteria, resource allocation, and project ‘green lights’) should be as clear and as consistent as possible. When practices are not clear, it leaves employees wondering what went into the decision-making process. Lack of transparency by a company’s leadership can directly impact employee effectiveness and productivity.

This type of culture comes from the top down. Communication cannot be optional. It must be built into the fabric of the company.

A few things you can do:
  • Develop a cadence of communication for your company and/or your department.
  • Be honest. Leaders love sharing good information, but sometimes the news is bad. Trust your employees to handle it.
  • Be as open as possible about company systems and processes
  • Make presentations, white papers, etc. available to employees. It is not reasonable to invite employees to every meeting on every subject, but you can make the information available.
  • Have open forums and engage in Management By Walking Around (MBWA)

View more documents from Fred Zimny.